July 22, 1997
After spending the night in the Jakarta airport sleeping on a bench, I caught my am
flight to Padang Sumatra. It's actually pretty easy to cycle to and from the airport,
other than the few strange looks. The jungles of Sumatra were calling my name. The normal
route would have been 90kms along the Trans Sumatra highway to Bukittinggi. Me be normal?
Please. I had to steer in different route. The additional 40kms of swaying palms and
remote rice paddies was added scenery well worth the detour. At nightfall I arrived at the
beautiful crater Lake Maninjau.
July 23, 1997
Due to my visa short of time remaining, I unfortunately did not get to spend several
days in the Lake Maninjau area. Welcome to the jungle once again! I asked some locals for
advice on a back road. Although I was warned not to venture down there, I felt I was up to
the challenge. Homer, my trusty steed, had no idea what was in store for him. The scenery
was an incredible virgin rainforest jungle. I saw a couple different species of apes. A
few different lizards were amazed at Homer visiting the remote parts of the jungle. Road
signs are none existent in these parts. Therefore, I had the pleasure of adding an
additional 75 kms of mountain terrain on today's cycle. Arrived in Lubusikaping at 9:00 pm
had a mandi and feed, then crashed in my dump of a homestay for the night. The ride was
intense with some incredible scenary of pristine rainforest.
July 24, 1997
Feeling a bit more conservative and tired today. Pedaled 100km to the town of Kota
Nopan, population of 500. The route was along the Trans Sumatra highway. I passed several
villages and beautiful rainforest scenery, although not as remote as Homer's previous
July 25, 1997
The day Homer got lost in the jungle is taking its toll. Feeling a bit tried,however
continued to cycled some 130 kms of hilly terrain to the town of Padangsidempuan. The
locals are very friendly to travelers because few actual visit it. The town is developed
for these parts with many businesses and a few hotels. Other than spending the night, I
see no other sights to explore.
July 26, 1997
Another day of pushing the pedals through the jungles of Sumatra. Finished the day in
the town of Tarutung. The religion of the area is mostly Protestant and they are sure to
inquire about yours. The locals were very interested in helping other people. I had tear
on my bike panniers repaired at the Frans Tailors. The two men running the shop would not
take any money for their services. The two of them worked on the bags for over an hour. I
came to an agreement to send them both a US dollar in memory which they will hang proudly
at the tailor shop.
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